Marrying off your children is not necessarily a parental responsibility. So you don’t actually need to obsess over it!
A couple who are related to us came home this morning to invite us for their son’s wedding. Soon, the conversation veered to why our nephew, who’s almost 30, was undecided about his marriage. I found the enquiry and analysis avoidable. Yes, parents and elders would love for children in the family to find companions and raise a family of their own. There is no problem with such an expectation. But obsessing over a person’s choice to delay or avoid marriage is, in my opinion, intrusion into the person’s privacy. I am quite sure my children too, who are in their 20s now, will come under such social scrutiny but at least they can celebrate that both Vaani and I are ‘chilled out’ and are the ‘non-obsessing’ type of parents!
I don’t think marriage as an institution is crumbling. But its relevance is beginning to be lost because of social and familial – read parental – attitudes towards it. When parents see the marriage of their children as a monumental responsibility they must discharge, when they see marriage as a vehicle for procreation than companionship, I think they are losing the plot. As parents we must only wish and pray for our children to find love in Life and for them to be happy. We must help our children realize the value in true companionship. And so we must not insist on marriage as a precondition for them to journey through Life.
When two people are attracted to each other, when they complement each other, when they want to live together, it is essentially their personal choice. If they want to have a wedding to commemorate their union, so be it. If they don’t want to marry, let it be so. A marriage cannot make two people happier than they are. It’s the being together that makes them happy; they are not happy because they are married! The label of marriage then is only an irrelevant social stamp of approval. Of course, people will argue that a marriage legitimizes ownership and sharing of material assets. But this is exactly what reduces a marriage to a business contract, a social arrangement of mutual and material convenience. This attitude must go.
I invite parents to seriously think this perspective over. Between love and companionship for your children and getting done with your duties and responsibilities, choose and champion the former. Your children, like you, are looking for happiness in relationships, they definitely don’t want to be stuck in a bad one trying to please you. Learn to appreciate and respect their choice.